Acta Analytica

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 95–109 | Cite as

Infinite Regress Arguments

  • Jan Willem WielandEmail author


Infinite regress arguments play an important role in many distinct philosophical debates. Yet, exactly how they are to be used to demonstrate anything is a matter of serious controversy. In this paper I take up this metaphilosophical debate, and demonstrate how infinite regress arguments can be used for two different purposes: either they can refute a universally quantified proposition (as the Paradox Theory says), or they can demonstrate that a solution never solves a given problem (as the Failure Theory says). In the meantime, I show that Black’s view on infinite regress arguments (1996, this journal) is incomplete, and how his criticism of Passmore can be countered.


Infinite Regress Argument Schema Paradox Failure 



Thanks to: Anna-Sofia Maurin, Jonathan Sozek, Maarten Van Dyck, Erik Weber and the referees of the journal for advice. The author is PhD fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Department of Philosophy and Moral ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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